My Personal Computing Setup
My main machine is a small form factor desktop computer that I built myself from parts purchased online. Here are the specs:
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z690M-Plus D4.
- Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5, i5-12600K, Alder Lake, with 6 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, for a total of 10 cores and 16 threads.
- RAM: 2 x 16GB G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series, DDR4 3200 MT/s RAM, for a total of 32 GB.
- Storage: NVMe SAMSUNG 980 PRO M.2 2280 SSD (PCIe Gen 4.0 x4), two sticks, one 500 GB and one 1TB, for a total of 1.5 TB NVMe SSD storage.
- Case: InWin Cj712, a small form factor chassis, 8 liters in volume.
- Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i-17xx, a low-profile and silent cooler compatible with the LGA 1700 socket.
This computer is an absolute beast and is able to chew through anything that I throw at it. Most of the time I'm barely even pushing it. I has more processing power than I know what to do with.
The large amount of RAM is great for virtualization, allowing it to host multiple VMs with considerable RAM in each. The 6 high-powered performance cores are great for compiling and programming workloads.
I had some hiccups setting up the XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile) to make full use of the 3200 MT/s that both the motherboard and the RAM did support, but I was able to troubleshoot it by searching for similar issues online.
Looking back, I would have selected a larger Noctua fan, as the processor can get hot enough to be thermal-throttled when under full load. The 125W TDP makes the i5-12600K a pretty power hungry and cooling-needy processor. Thankfully the 265W flex ATX power supply included in the case is able to handle it, given the absence of a dedicated graphics card in this build.
For the operating system choice, I run Arch Linux on it most of the time and the experience has been very smooth. There's also a Windows 11 installation on the second SSD drive. The reason for the Windows was to get my StarCraft II gaming fix, but I've since figured out how to run it on Linux through Lutris and I've noticed no performance difference between using either OS while playing.
For the monitor, I have the Phillips 27-inch 4K IPS display, which I drive through an HDMI cable plugged directly to the motherboard. This leverages the processor's included integrated graphics, which are enough for a smooth 4K @60fps desktop experience.
For the peripherals, I use a Microsoft Sculpt Keyboard, a Logitech Trackball ERGO M575 mouse and a Sennheiser HD 400S Over-Ear Headphones. Internet connection and home networking is performed through the Gigabit Ethernet port the motherboard provides.
Appendix: Geekbench 6 benchmark results
My current desktop machine: 12th Gen Intel i5-12600K, 64 GB DDR4 RAM
- Single-core score: 2833
- Multi-core score: 12460
- Running Arch Linux, kernel version 6.5.4-arch2-1.
- Detailed results: https://browser.geekbench.com/v6/cpu/2751935
My Previous Machine: Microsoft Surface Book (2015)
- Intel Core i5-6300U 2-core 4-threads CPU, 8 GB LPDDR4 RAM, 128 GB SSD model.
- Running Windows 10 Pro 22H2.
- Single-core score: 922
- Multi-core score: 2012
- Detailed results: https://browser.geekbench.com/v6/cpu/2752255
- Single-core score: 988
- Multi-core score: 1995
- Detailed results: https://browser.geekbench.com/v6/cpu/2752481
MacBook Pro M2 Pro (14-inch, 2023)
- 10-core M2 Pro Aarch64 Apple Silicon processor, 16 GB RAM, running mac OS 13.6.
- Single-core score: 2669
- Multi-core score: 12345
- Detailed results: https://browser.geekbench.com/v6/cpu/2755519
NOTE: I'm deeply surprised how the M2 Pro presents a virtually similar performance to my power-hungry desktop PC in a notebook form-factor. My hat's off to Apple's engineering for achieving that. This is no small feat and really makes me appreciate how a company with huge resources can catch-up in performance to decades of industry experience and maturity.